Navigation Links
Fine-Tuning Prosthetic Hands to Restore a Sense of Touch
Date:10/14/2009

In rats, researchers create junction between brain and device

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they're making progress toward better connections between prosthetic hands and the brain, potentially paving the way for amputees to do such things as type, sense hot and cold, and touch others.

If new strategies under development work in humans, they "would allow people to have a prosthetic that functions like a normal hand and provides sensory feedback," said Dr. Paul S. Cederna, one of the principal investigators behind the research.

In addition, he said, the research could do the same thing for prosthetic legs.

For the moment, however, it's unclear whether the new findings will translate from rodents, which have undergone testing, to humans. Still, researchers are hopeful. But for now, prosthetic hands continue to have severe limitations.

"The majority of the issues around new high-tech prosthetics are regarding the ability to control the prosthetic and the ability to get feedback from the prosthetic," said Cederna, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the University of Michigan Health Systems and an associate professor of surgery at the university's medical school.

People are able to carry heavy items and push things around, he said. But fine motor skills, such as the ability to type, remain elusive, as does the ability to move individual fingers.

The nerves at the end of the stump where an amputation took place are key, he explained. The brain still controls the nerves, which still carry signals. There's just no hand for the brain to talk to.

"If we can harvest those signals out of the nerve and feed them to the prosthetics, we'd be able to have the brain control the function of the prosthesis," Cederna said.

One approach uses tiny cuffs that wrap around nerves and pick up electrical signals. But the cuffs stop working over time, Cederna noted. Another approach that relies on a needle probe passed into a nerve suffers from the same problem, he said.

In findings to be released Oct. 14 at the annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, Cederna and colleagues report that they developed a kind of junction that nerve fibers grow into. This allows a connection between the prosthesis and the brain.

"From our research we've done so far, it's working fantastically in a rat model, and we have good long-term stability," Cederna said. If it passes tests in humans, "it would work anywhere where we want sensory feedback," he said.

The potential cost of the approach in humans remains unclear, he said.

Researchers hope to test their strategy in people in three years.

Dr. Gerald E. Loeb, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, said the new approach could be an advance, but questions remain about how many signals can be transmitted between brain and hand.

The U.S. Department of Defense and the Army have funded the new research with $4.5 million. Many soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are returning to the United States with amputations.

More information

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand has more on prosthetics.



SOURCES: Paul S. Cederna, M.D., plastic and reconstructive surgeon, University of Michigan Health System, and associate professor of surgery, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Gerald E. Loeb, M.D., professor, biomedical engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Oct. 14, 2009, presentation, American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, Chicago


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Mayo Clinic researchers discover new diagnostic test for detecting infection in prosthetic joints
2. Kaiser Permanente Team Builds Prosthetic Hands for Charity
3. Amy Street, Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist, Joins BridgePoint Medical Partner, Charlotte Orthotic and Prosthetic Center (COPC)
4. Prosthetic Ears Boost Hearing After Injury
5. California Woman Receives Most Advanced, Non-Invasive Upper Extremity Prosthetic Solution: Bionic i-LIMB Hand and Innovative Interface System Increase Amputee's Functionality and Confidence
6. Prosthetic Center of Excellence to Provide Breakthrough Technology to Rehabilitation Patients
7. Malena Brunner of American Prosthetics & Orthotics Receives Orthotics Certification
8. When Should Children Wash Their Hands?
9. Clean Hands are Key to Fighting Cold, Flu Germs
10. Hands2GO(R) Hand Sanitizer Offers Alcohol-Free Alternative to Stopping the Spread of Flu at School and Work
11. SafeHands School Program to Help Fight Spread of MRSA Staph Virus
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... , ... February 12, 2016 , ... The Journal ... up from 0.416 in 2013. The SJR uses data taken from the Scopus database ... both the number of citations received by the journal over a three year period ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Hall Integrative Health and ... for their simultaneous grand openings in March. All seven practices are set to ... wondering, is reversing diabetes possible? According to this 2011 CNN article it is ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... Feb. 23 webinar, “Intel’s Direct-to-Employee Benefit Model: A Case Study for Plans and ... health care system that’s partnering with Intel on value-based health benefits program Connected ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... , ... PharmMD CEO Robert Yeager announced today ... contract negotiations, corporate strategy and healthcare data law. Additional responsibilities will include healthcare ... breaches for the Part D Star Rating improvement and Medication Therapy Management firm. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Long Island, NY (PRWEB) , ... February 11, ... ... (INS) has enhanced and updated its hallmark resource, Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice, ... global leader in vein illumination with an estimated 85% share of the market, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ALEX , has taken Kickstarter by storm, crowdfunding over $60,000 – or 120% of its original ... to be delivered to backers starting May of this year. ... ... ... Created by NAMU, a team of biomedical engineers out of ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ROLLING MEADOWS , Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS ... major milestone for many young people, but for those ... demanding. Not only do these students juggle class schedules, ... challenges of living with type 1 diabetes. On top ... the first time. Diabetes Scholars Foundation ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016  AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical ... Scholarship, designed to provide financial support for exceptional ... pursue higher education goals. Fifteen scholars will be ... school year. The AbbVie Rheumatology Scholarship is currently ... vice president, corporate social responsibility, brand and communications, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: